Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the United States – and may worsen in the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in pressing for tougher areas to consider redistribution calls for indoor concealment.
Increasing Covid-19 infections and hospitals are placing much of the country under guidelines issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which calls for camouflage and other infection precautions.
Right now, about one-third of the US population lives in high-risk areas – mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. These are areas where people should already consider wearing masks at home – but Americans elsewhere should also pay attention, officials said.
“Previous increases in infections have been shown to travel across the country in different waves of infection,” said CDC Director Dr Kapoor. Rochelle Valensky told reporters at the White House briefing.
For growing areas, “we urge local leaders to promote the use of preventative techniques such as masks in public indoor settings and increase access to testing and treatment,” he said.
However, officials have been wary of making concrete predictions that how bad the epidemic will be depends on a number of factors, such as protecting previous infections from new mutations.
Last week, White House Covid-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, in an interview with the Associated Press, warned that the US would be more vulnerable to coronaviruses this autumn and winter if Congress does not quickly approve new vaccines and treatments.
Jha warned that the fallout from the US treatments for the virus would be “unnecessary germs” in the autumn and winter when the US treats it out of hand.
He said the US is already lagging behind other countries in securing the supply of the next generation of Kovid-19 vaccines, and that the domestic manufacturing base of tests at home is already drying up as demand drops.
Jha said domestic test manufacturers have begun to close lines and lay off workers and begin selling equipment in the coming weeks and will be ready to quit the business of producing tests if the US government does not have the money to buy hundreds of tests. This year, it has sent millions of requests to homes for free.
Zha warned that it would cause the US to rely on other countries for testing supplies, causing shortages during the surge. About 8.5 million families have placed orders for the latest portion of the 8 free tests since the order began on Monday, Jha added.
The epidemic is now 2 1/2 years old. And the US has seen – depending on how you count them – five waves of Kovid-19 at that time, followed by mutations of the coronavirus. The fifth wave occurred mainly in December and January, caused by the Omicron transformation.
The Omicron variant is more easily spread than previous versions.
Some experts are worried that the country is now seeing signs of a sixth wave powered by the Omicron submarine. On Wednesday, Walensky noted a steady increase in Covid-19 cases over the past five weeks, including a 26% increase nationally over the past week.
Hospital admissions are also on the rise, up 19% over the past week, though they are lower than the Omicron wave.
In late February, as that wave subsided, the CDC released new measures for communities to ease its grip on Kovid-19, with less focus on positive test results and more on what is happening in hospitals.
More than 32% of the country currently lives in an area with a moderate or high Kovid-19 community level, Walensky said, with more than 9% of those where the CDC recommends using masks and other mitigation efforts.
Over the past week, an additional 8% of Americans have been living in the county with a moderate or high Covid-19 community level.
Officials are concerned that diminishing immunity and loosening mitigation measures across the country could lead to a steady rise in infections and illnesses across the country. He encouraged people – especially older adults – to get boosters.
Some health experts say the government should take clear and bold steps.
The CDC’s community-level guidelines are confusing to the public and do not give a clear picture of the spread of the virus in the community, says Dr. Lakshmi Ganapathi, an epidemiologist at Harvard University.
When government officials make recommendations but do not set the rules, “it ultimately rests on each individual’s choice and public health for them. But it is not effective.